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Gregory Porter|Take Me To The Alley

Take Me To The Alley

Gregory Porter

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With 2013's Liquid Spirit, jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter's Blue Note debut, he accomplished what few in his vocation have in recent decades -- sold over a million albums globally. He also won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In addition, in 2015, U.K. electronic unit Disclosure released "Holding On" -- a co-write with the singer that featured his vocal -- as the lead single from their Caracal album. The track was a worldwide club hit and inspired numerous remixes. On Take Me to the Alley, Porter sticks to what he does best: writing and singing great songs in his honeyed, unhurried yet disciplined baritone. Kamau Kenyatta remains his producer and his longtime band is back -- drummer Emanuel Harrold, bassist Aaron James, pianist Chip Crawford, and saxophonists Yosuke Sato (alto) and Tivon Pennicott (tenor) -- with select guests including trumpeter Keyon Harrold, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, and organist Ondrej Pivec. The leadoff track, unsurprisingly, is his own version of "Holding On," with a double-timed, brushed hi-hat, Motown-esque bassline, and crystalline piano. It skirts the edges of pop-soul yet remains in the jazz camp. Porter's lyrics are direct, confessional, and poetic. The spiritual clarity of the gospel message in the title cut is underscored by Olatuja's harmony vocal and Harrold's melodic trumpet break. "Consequence of Love" is one of the finest moments here, a tender midtempo ballad offered with the no-nonsense conviction that reveals love may be beyond the measurement of the rational, but commitment to it remains necessary for the revelation of its truth. Porter employs gospelized soul-blues (à la Ray Charles) in "Don't Lose Your Steam," one of two songs inspired by his son. The horns frame the B-3 and rhythm section groove while Sato's solo becomes a responsorial voice. "Fan the Flames" is a swinging political post-bop finger-popper with punchy horns. It's an anthemic call to arms with great solos by Pennicott and Keyon Harrold. The artful, strident narrative in "French African Queen" is accompanied in feverish modal form by the ensemble, accented by fluid rhythms that touch on Latin and African grooves (check the Fela Kuti-inspired horns to boot). A second version of "Holding On," with urban soulman Kem, feels unnecessary in comparison to the first. Conversely, the closer, a second read of the ballad "Insanity" with Lalah Hathaway in duet, should have replaced the first one, because it is superior. A seamless intersection of pop-jazz and adult contemporary soul, it is a set highlight. If there's a knock against Take Me to the Alley, it's that it feels a bit long. Editing out two or three tunes would have heightened its impact. That Porter doesn't break new ground here isn't a big deal; he doesn't need to. His voice, already a standard of excellence by which others are judged, is matched by a truth-laid-bare songwriting style that is singular and second to none.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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Take Me To The Alley

Gregory Porter

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1
Holding On
00:05:01

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Guy William Lawrence, ComposerLyricist - James John Napier, ComposerLyricist - Howard John Lawrence, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

2
Don’t Lose Your Steam
00:03:17

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

3
Take Me To The Alley
00:05:16

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

4
Day Dream
00:03:51

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Craig Dawson, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

5
Consequence Of Love
00:03:20

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

6
In Fashion
00:04:34

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

7
More Than A Woman
00:03:31

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

8
In Heaven
00:04:18

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel - Darlene Andrews, ComposerLyricist

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

9
Insanity
00:05:37

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

10
Don't Be A Fool
00:04:31

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

11
Fan The Flames
00:04:12

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

12
French African Queen
00:03:45

Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

13
Holding On
00:04:14

Rex Rideout, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - RAY BARDANI, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Kem, Producer, Executive Producer, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Todd Fairall, Mix Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Eric Morgeson, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Guy William Lawrence, ComposerLyricist - James John Napier, ComposerLyricist - Howard John Lawrence, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Jezreel Santos, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Demetrius Nabors, Bass Guitar, Keyboards, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

14
Insanity
00:05:03

Darrell Crooks, Guitar, AssociatedPerformer - Rex Rideout, Remixer, Recording Arranger, AssociatedPerformer, StudioPersonnel - RAY BARDANI, Mixer, StudioPersonnel - Jay Newland, Mixer, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Charlie Paakkari, Recording Engineer, StudioPersonnel - Lalah Hathaway, Vocals, FeaturedArtist, AssociatedPerformer - Alicia Olatuja, Additional Vocals, AssociatedPerformer - Keyon Harrold, Trumpet, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Gregory Porter, Producer, Co-Arranger, Vocals, MainArtist, AssociatedPerformer, ComposerLyricist - Ondřej Pivec, Organ, AssociatedPerformer - Tivon Pennicott, Tenor Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Chip Crawford, Co-Arranger, Piano, AssociatedPerformer - Kamau Kenyatta, Producer, Co-Arranger, Horn Arranger, AssociatedPerformer - Aaron James, Double Bass, AssociatedPerformer - Yosuke Sato, Alto Saxophone, AssociatedPerformer - Emanuel Harrold, Drums, AssociatedPerformer - Pascal Bod, Production Coordinator, StudioPersonnel

℗ 2016 Gregory Porter

Album Description

With 2013's Liquid Spirit, jazz singer and songwriter Gregory Porter's Blue Note debut, he accomplished what few in his vocation have in recent decades -- sold over a million albums globally. He also won the 2014 Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Album. In addition, in 2015, U.K. electronic unit Disclosure released "Holding On" -- a co-write with the singer that featured his vocal -- as the lead single from their Caracal album. The track was a worldwide club hit and inspired numerous remixes. On Take Me to the Alley, Porter sticks to what he does best: writing and singing great songs in his honeyed, unhurried yet disciplined baritone. Kamau Kenyatta remains his producer and his longtime band is back -- drummer Emanuel Harrold, bassist Aaron James, pianist Chip Crawford, and saxophonists Yosuke Sato (alto) and Tivon Pennicott (tenor) -- with select guests including trumpeter Keyon Harrold, vocalist Alicia Olatuja, and organist Ondrej Pivec. The leadoff track, unsurprisingly, is his own version of "Holding On," with a double-timed, brushed hi-hat, Motown-esque bassline, and crystalline piano. It skirts the edges of pop-soul yet remains in the jazz camp. Porter's lyrics are direct, confessional, and poetic. The spiritual clarity of the gospel message in the title cut is underscored by Olatuja's harmony vocal and Harrold's melodic trumpet break. "Consequence of Love" is one of the finest moments here, a tender midtempo ballad offered with the no-nonsense conviction that reveals love may be beyond the measurement of the rational, but commitment to it remains necessary for the revelation of its truth. Porter employs gospelized soul-blues (à la Ray Charles) in "Don't Lose Your Steam," one of two songs inspired by his son. The horns frame the B-3 and rhythm section groove while Sato's solo becomes a responsorial voice. "Fan the Flames" is a swinging political post-bop finger-popper with punchy horns. It's an anthemic call to arms with great solos by Pennicott and Keyon Harrold. The artful, strident narrative in "French African Queen" is accompanied in feverish modal form by the ensemble, accented by fluid rhythms that touch on Latin and African grooves (check the Fela Kuti-inspired horns to boot). A second version of "Holding On," with urban soulman Kem, feels unnecessary in comparison to the first. Conversely, the closer, a second read of the ballad "Insanity" with Lalah Hathaway in duet, should have replaced the first one, because it is superior. A seamless intersection of pop-jazz and adult contemporary soul, it is a set highlight. If there's a knock against Take Me to the Alley, it's that it feels a bit long. Editing out two or three tunes would have heightened its impact. That Porter doesn't break new ground here isn't a big deal; he doesn't need to. His voice, already a standard of excellence by which others are judged, is matched by a truth-laid-bare songwriting style that is singular and second to none.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo

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